Two million more people have taken up residence in Florida since a hurricane last hit in 2005.
That growth, concentrated along coastal areas likeliest to be washed away by a storm, means the state is in many ways more vulnerable than ever to catastrophic damage from a tropical hurricane.
Elegant homes and high-rise condominiums have sprung up along eroding shorelines in places like Miami Beach, putting billions of dollars in property at risk.
Public and private insurance programs would be pushed to the limit by a major storm.
Miami-Dade County is arguably the most vulnerable. If a Category 4 storm hit Miami, damage might exceed $125 billion, said spokesman for the National Hurricane Center.